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China is bound to back Africa
From Cape Times by Shannon Ebrahim on Friday, August 5, 2016


IN CHINA here is a saying that planning contributes 10% to the success of an undertaking while 90% of success lies in implementation. If there is one area in which the Chinese rarely disappoint it is in implementation of plans and projects. They said in 2008 that they would have an operating rail network of 120 000km by 2020. They’ve not only accomplished their targets, but they have upped the target to 150 000km.

The commitments made during last December’s Forum for China-Africa Co-operation (Focac) is no exception to the tradition of honouring targets, timelines and commitments. The world was amazed when China announced $60 billion (R826bn) in financial support for development projects in Africa at the summit. There were musings about whether China would be able to fulfil its side of the 10 co-operation plans which were agreed to.

There was also some scepticism as to whether African countries would step up to the plate and ensure implementation.

To ensure that the commitments made at the Focac Summit translate into tangible results, China hosted a co-ordinators’ meeting on the implementation of the follow-up actions of the Joburg summit in Beijing last week. African countries indicated the seriousness with which they take the process as over 30 African countries have established internal co-ordination mechanisms and designated ministerial-level co-ordinator to implement the outcomes. At last week’s meeting in Beijing, over 100 Chinese and African ministerial-level officials gathered to discuss co-operation and development.

The China- Africa Fund for Production Capacity Co-operation is up and running with an initial contribution of $10bn, and the Special Loan for the Development of African SMEs has also been bolstered with $5bn of additional funding.

China has already signed framework agreements for production capacity co-operation with six countries, including Ethiopia, Egypt, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

There are also a significant number of large-scale infrastructure projects in rail, road, port, airport, electricity, water supply and tele-communications which are well under way.

The Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway, Africa’s first electrified railway financed and constructed by China will be operational soon. The Mombasa-Nairobi standard gauge railway is expected to be turned over next year.

China and six East African countries have reached agreement on jointly building an East African information express way. Partial statistics show that China and Africa have signed over 180 various co-operation agreements with a total value of $32.5bn since the summit. This includes $29.1bn of commercial loans. During the co-ordinators meeting, China and African countries signed another 60 co-operation agreements worth US$18.2bn.

Other forms of co-operation between China and Africa are also being operationalised and China has reached agreement with the AU Commission on co-operation with the African Centre for Disease Control, and with countries such as South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria on scientific and technological co-operation. Rapid progress has been made in the development of sister provinces and cities between China and Africa, and China has approved direct flights by airlines of seven African countries.

Next month, China will host the G20 Hangzhou Summit, and in such capacity has invited heads of state from South Africa, Chad, Egypt and Senegal to attend. China has placed development high on the G20 agenda, and has agreed with other G20 members to formulate an action plan on the implementation of Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.

China has proven in the first seven months since the Focac Summit that it intends to monitor progress on the implementation of development plans, and President Xi Jinping has insisted on follow-up reports to him personally every three months. This is the type of development partnership Africa sorely needs.

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